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Making Martyrs in Late Antiquity [Hardcover]

Lucy Grig
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

24 Dec 2004
Making Martyrs focuses on both artistic and textual representations to investigate the making of martyrs in the fourth- and fifth-century Latin West. It shows that this 'making' of martyrs played a crucial role in the process of Christianisation during the post-Constantinian period. The writings of some of the most important figures in late antique Christianity - Augustine, Ambrose and Jerome - are considered, along with a number of anonymous, marginal and marginalised texts. The book covers such major subjects as the history of martyrdom and martyr texts and the role of images and relics in cult and representation. It also examines a number of key themes including the role of spectacle in martyr representation, the importance of suffering in the construction of Christian identity, and the interaction of text and image in the process of representation. Between the chapters proper are 'inserts' focusing on individual martyrs (such as the African martyr bishop Cyprian, and the virgin martyr par excellence, Agnes). These sections provide close readings of the textual and material testimony, and show how politics (textual, sexual and ecclesiastical) were bound up in the making of martyrs. The power of the martyrs in Late Antiquity, and beyond, is clearly demonstrated.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (24 Dec 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071563285X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715632857
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,748,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent contribution 11 July 2006
By reader
Grig has produced a book that gives a thematic overview of how martyrs were 'constructed' throughout late antiquity. While adopting a thematic approach to the subject of martyrdom, as is reflected in the titles of chapters (e.g. 'A brief history of martyrdom'), the book is nevertheless extremely informative and detailed. Incorporating the most recent developments in the study of ealy Christianity, such as the use of art and images,the notion of power, and the concept of performance, Grig demonstrates how martyrs were perceived, represented, and remembered. Grig successfully demonstrates the power of martyrdom and its impact upon early Christianity: 'the construction of martyrs' contributed towards 'the construction of Christianisation' in the fourth century.

Due to its accessibility and lack of pretension, this book would provide a compelling introduction for the interested person. However, the detailed mini studies that are sandwiched between each chapter also provide a more specific focus for academics and students, as they probe deeper into particular themes, characters, and contexts.
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